Oberlin Behind the Scenes
Most of the pictures you see of Oberlin are gorgeous. They showcase the most striking buildings, from the most interesting angles, in the most flattering weather. In all the Oberlin communications publications--the viewbooks, the websites, the Oberlin Hopefuls Facebook page--the photos are carefully chosen to make this place look classy. And it does.
But what about the Oberlin the official publications don't show you, the Oberlin that you walk through every day? A whole lot of it actually does look as attractive as our publications show. But there's more to buildings than the facades we usually show you, and I think that these back angles are, if not as aesthetically pleasing, even more visually interesting than the fronts.
Have a look.
Above: The path between Carnegie, the admissions building, and Asia House. Carnegie looks very bland from this angle, which is strange considering how striking its front is!
Asia House doesn't get enough press. It's very pretty, but it's tucked away behind Fairchild Chapel and Carnegie on one side and Stevenson Dining Hall on the other. Moreover, it's kind of hidden away in itself. It was the old theological school way back when, and designed like a monastery, with three wings in a U right against the back of Fairchild Chapel, forming a central courtyard.
Talcott is one of the oldest buildings on campus. It's made of stone, with big towers--the second-most Hogwartsian edifice, after Peters--and it can best be described as "stately." Above: the rear view.
Baldwin Cottage--Women's Collective--is at least as old and cool-looking as Talcott. It has some other building grafted onto the back. (I think this the kitchen of Third World Co-Op.)
Above: the new jazz building from the rear approach. They're fixing something up on the roof, and this bucket-chain is how the rubble is disposed of. I immediately thought of Home Alone and the kinds of uses that kid would put it to.
For some reason, there's a little nook between two sections of the jazz building, with the concrete of Bibbins (the building that houses the rest of the conservatory) making its back. Whenever I say "Bibbins," I think of hobbits. It just sounds like a name for a hobbit, or perhaps a kitten.
It was the first of several very nice days when I was taking these pictures. Some jazz students were taking advantage of the weather to practice outside, and very kindly granted me permission to take pictures.
There's a parking lot behind the jazz building, the other sides of which are formed by the backs of the stores lining College Street and Main Street. The buildings are textured, the skyline attention-grabbing. My friend Guy, who grew up in New York, said it looks like a little bit of Queens.
There's another cool little area behind the Apollo, Oberlin's movie theater (currently undergoing its second round of renovations in four years).
Here's the Apollo itself.
And finally, the back of the newer development, a block of businesses (with condos on the upper stories) that opened up last year. Slow Train, the coffee shop, is here, with Cow Haus Creamery, home of Oberlin's most delicious and crazy ice cream flavors, next door. Infinite Monkey, the comic book store, moved from Main Street to a new, bigger location here.